in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum
Luxury Maison introduces a new collection dedicated to the artistry and skill of history’s great artists, with its first edition celebrating the unique genius of pioneer Van Gogh
The new Montblanc Masters of Art Collection honours the immortal contribution of great artists in their quest for perfection in art, a quest Montblanc both celebrates and participates in as a Maison rooted in culture, creativity and self-expression. This collection comes as the successor of the Montblanc Patron of Art collection, concluding after 30 years as Montblanc moves the focus from the patrons of art to the masters themselves. Montblanc is dedicating this series of limited editions to a variety of visual artists, whose work encompasses a broad range of disciplines, from painting and sculpture to design and architecture, covering different epochs like the Renaissance, the Baroque era, or Impressionism period and beyond. The proportions of every writing instrument in the collection are inspired by the golden ratio, a timeless aesthetic principle connecting many of the world’s most admired artworks. This golden ratio, or 1.61 (Phi), also serves as special inspiration for the new Edition limited to 161 and will be featured in all upcoming Masters of Art collections. Each Limited Edition 161 will carry an embossed Phi symbol on its handcrafted, solid Au 750 gold nib.
The Montblanc Masters of Art collection’s first edition pays tribute to Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, one of the most popular painters of the late 19th century with visionary ideas now seen as precursors to modernism. Van Gogh is introduced into the Masters of Art Collection through five limited edition writing instruments that pay homage to the various personal and artistic periods in the painter’s life, taking design inspiration from some of his most well-known works and idiosyncratic art style. Montblanc is pleased to cooperate with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to ensure that the Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Editions align with the museum’s insight into his work and life. As the leading centre of expertise on Vincent van Gogh, the Van Gogh Museum acts as guardian of Vincent van Gogh’s heritage. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s art with over 200 paintings, close to 500 drawings and more than 700 letters. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, the Van Gogh Museum continues to inspire countless devotees with the life and work of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries.
Born in the Netherlands in 1853, Van Gogh’s path of self-discovery began in 1869 with his first job, as an apprentice to an art dealer, but it wasn’t until 1880 that he decided to become an artist. Once committed, he set to work painting and drawing the rural life around him before moving to Paris in 1886, where he began experimenting with colours and techniques inspired by Impressionism, the artistic movement of the time. Working at the vanguard of post-Impressionist art, Van Gogh breathed life into his art with his bold use of colour, dramatic brushstrokes and the impasto technique, whereby he applied paint thickly to his canvas to create depth, emotion and movement. Vincent van Gogh was very prolific considering the short time he was active as a painter. In just one decade, he created over 800 paintings and more than 1,100 drawings and sketches.
Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 4810
This limited edition writing instrument, coming in a fountain pen and a rollerball version, celebrates Vincent van Gogh’s time in Arles with design details evoking the Provençal wheatfields and one of his most famous paintings, Sunflowers. In 1888, Vincent van Gogh left Paris and found new inspiration, new light conditions and tranquillity in Arles in southern France, where he fell in love with the sun-drenched landscapes and settled down to capture the sun-infused mood and the beautiful colours of nature. The writing instrument’s barrel, decorated in shades of yellow and orange, is reminiscent of the sun-drenched landscapes of southern France as captured in Van Gogh’s works. This period of brightness is also reflected in the orange lacquer used to fill the signature ‘Vincent’, engraved on the platinum-coated barrel ring of the edition. Next to it, an engraving of ‘1888’ commemorates the year he moved to Arles.
Van Gogh’s famous series of five sunflower paintings was also created this time period, lending its likeness to the interpretation embossed on the handcrafted, solid Au 750 gold rhodium-coated nib. Van Gogh’s palette knife inspired the platinum-coated clip, while his sweeping brushwork is immortalized in the yellow lacquer of the cap top. His fondness for pipe smoking, to which he referred in many of his self-portraits, is captured in a subtle detail of the clip: the upper part is shaped like a pipe’s bowl and filled with precious yellow resin.
Vincent van Gogh worked intensively to hone his knowledge of drawing techniques and colour theory, often testing colour combinations before painting using balls of wool that he kept in a box and holding the coloured yarns next to each other. Laid out on a surface for comparison, Vincent van Gogh’s yarns would have made a pattern of lines similar to the engraving that encircles the forepart of the writing instrument. Similarly, to overcome the challenges of perspective, he identified the need for a visualisation aid that would enable rapid, accurate execution of any composition – a device called a perspective frame. This wooden frame had strings stretched across it to show the convergence of perspective lines towards a vanishing point at the centre. The triangular subdivision created by these strings inspired the shape of the cap top of this edition, while the engravings on the fittings are inspired by the screws holding the perspective frame together.
Like many fellow artists in Paris, Vincent van Gogh was fascinated with Japanese art known at the time as Japonisme, and he marvelled at the freshness of traditional Japanese woodblock prints, which he started collecting, even adopting some elements of their composition into his own paintings. The cap of this edition is made from hornbeam wood in token of Van Gogh’s admiration for this art form. The wood-cutting knife or hangi-toh used in Japan for making woodblock prints inspired the overall silhouette of the writing instrument.
While searching for a vocation, Vincent van Gogh lived as a lay preacher among coal miners in the Borinage, Belgium, where he first framed his artistic conceptions. The significance of this impoverished community as the birthplace of Van Gogh’s artistic aspirations is emphasised in the engraving of ‘Borinage’ on the cap top, which is crowned by the Montblanc emblem in yellow precious resin.
Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 888
The design of this edition evokes the artist’s time in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Auvers-sur-Oise with details reflecting the Provençal skies and one of his most famous paintings, Wheatfield with Crows. In 1889, after spending a highly productive year in Arles, he made Saint-Rémy and later Auvers-sur-Oise his home, reigniting his creativity in the peaceful surroundings he found there. The engraving of ‘Saint-Rémy’ on the cap top of the writing instrument reveals the setting for the next stage of the painter’s personal journey. An engraving of ‘1889’ on the barrel ring commemorates the year of his move to Saint-Rémy, next to one of his signature filled with blue lacquer.
During this time, Vincent Van Gogh created memorable impressions of the gardens and wheatfields near the sanctuary where he lived. Paintings from this period marked his maturity as an artist and inspired the colour composition of the cap of the Limited Edition 888. The Provençal blue skies and golden wheatfields are reflected in translucent lacquer inlays in different shades of blue and in the solid Au 750 yellow gold skeleton overlay. The stars shining brightly on the night skies over the wheatfields are represented by sparkling particles in the blue lacquer of the barrel and by the solid Au 750 yellow gold Montblanc emblem on the cap top, embedded in blue lacquer.
Throughout his time in Saint-Rémy, Vincent van Gogh maintained close ties to his family. The image embossed on the solid Au 750 gold nib immortalises Vincent’s hopeful painting Almond Blossom, his response to the birth of the nephew who shared his name. One of Van Gogh’s most famous works, this painting was created specifically to honour the happy family event and symbolise new life beginning. The Japanese style of the painting mimics the overall silhouette of a Japanese wood-cutting knife or hangi-toh. Van Gogh’s palette knife inspired the platinum-coated clip, while his sweeping brushwork is immortalised in the blue lacquer of the cap top. The upper part of the clip is shaped like a pipe’s bowl and adorned with a yellow citrine stone.
Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 161
This edition with a limitation of 161 captures the artist’s final years in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Auvers-sur-Oise with design details reflecting his last work, Tree Roots, among others. After Van Gogh left Arles, he made his home in Saint-Rémy where he reached his artistic maturity. It was in 1890 that the painter moved on to Auvers-sur-Oise, which became his final home. The solid Au 750 signature gold barrel ring is engraved with Van Gogh’s signature and ‘1890’, commemorating the year he drew his last painting, Tree Roots. The Ag 925 sterling silver barrel is decorated with lacquer inlays with design and colours from Tree Roots, which depicts a group of trees with their roots exposed by erosion on the side of a hill.
While Van Gogh’s many self-portraits captured his likeness, his landscapes captured the artist’s inner self. In Saint-Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, Van Gogh perfected his ability to paint natural scenes as viewed through his own emotional lens. Wheatfield and Cypresses is one such painting, showing an impetuous sky over a landscape full of movement. Van Gogh painted this view from the asylum in Saint-Rémy three times. His drawing of the same view, made with pencil, reed-pen and pen and ink, is interpreted in the engraving on the Ag 925 sterling silver cap.
Similarly to the other editions in the collection, the writing instrument’s engraving encircling the forepart is a reference to the yarns Van Gogh often used to test colour combinations, a testament to his fascination with colour theory. Meanwhile, the cap top gets its shape from the triangular subdivisions of the artist’s perspective frame, a tool which helped him create realistic portrayal of landscapes, and the screws of which are seen in the engravings on the fittings. Van Gogh’s many creative impulses are symbolized in the facets of blue lacquer crowning the cap top; embedded in this blue field is the Montblanc emblem in solid Au 750 signature gold, echoing the bright stars often found in his works.
Van Gogh’s prized palette knife, used to create his famed impasto style, inspired the shape of the writing instrument’s clip, while his brushwork is immortalized in the triangular area of lacquer on the cap top. Van Gogh’s well-captured love for pipe smoking is captured in the pen’s clip, adorned with a citrin stone.
Similar to the other editions, the silhouette of the Limited Edition 161 follows that of a Japanese wood-cutting knife, while the solid Au 750 signature gold cone’s shape recalls the cutting blade of this knife. The way Van Gogh found inspiration in Japanese art demonstrates the universality of artistic concepts such as the Golden Cut, or 1.61 (Phi), which served as inspiration for the embossing of the Phi symbol on the handcrafted, solid Au 750 gold nib and for the limitation to 161 pieces.
Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 90
The design of this edition limited to 90 pieces celebrates Van Gogh’s time Arles, reflecting his Provençal landscapes seen in his work The Harvest and paying homage to his impasto technique. In Arles, Van Gogh was able to breathe a magical quality into his paintings using buoyant colours and an emotional, impasto style – applying thick paint in rough strokes to create a topography of coloured layers. Van Gogh’s impasto was intense, the colour potent and the strokes of the palette knife vigorous. On the Limited Edition 90, this technique is interpreted by hand in the artwork adorning the cap and barrel. Inspired by masterpieces such as The Harvest, the hand-crafted artwork is composed of colours used by Van Gogh for his visions of Provence: warm yellows, resonant oranges and soothing greens. Each writing instrument is unique in the way strokes of colour fuse together, giving this edition the quality of a painted canvas.
The engraving of ‘Arles’ on the cap top emphasises the importance of this place to Van Gogh. Embedded in the cap top in a field of blue lacquer like one of Vincent’s bright stars – an image found repeatedly in his works – is the Montblanc emblem in solid Au 750 yellow gold. The year Vincent van Gogh moved to Arles is commemorated in an engraving of ‘1888’ alongside the signature ‘Vincent’ on the barrel ring.
The silhouette of the Limited Edition 90 takes its shape from a Japanese wood-cutting knife, reflecting Van Gogh’s fascination with traditional Japanese woodblock prints. The shape of the solid Au 750 yellow gold cone also mimics the cutting blade of the knife.
The writing instrument’s lacquer-filled engraving encircling its forepart in blue and orange are a nod to the yarns Van Gogh used to test colour combinations, a testament to his understanding of colour theory. This fascination with colour was also seen in his series of five sunflower paintings, serving as inspiration for the embossing on the handcrafted, solid Au 750 yellow gold nib.
The cap top gets its shape from the triangular subdivisions of Van Gogh’s perspective frame, a tool which helped him create realistic portrayal of landscapes, and the screws of which are represented by the engravings on the fittings.
Van Gogh’s palette knife inspired the yellow gold-coated clip, while his brushwork is immortalised in the orange lacquer of the cap top. The artist is also known to have painted 35 self-portraits during his life; one of these, entitled “Self Portrait with Straw Hat”, inspired the engraving on the forepart. Similarly, Van Gogh’s documented fondness for pipe smoking is captured in the clip’s detail, with the upper part shaped like a pipe’s bowl and set here with a fire opal.
Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 8
This edition with a limitation of just 8 pieces is a testament to the breath-taking blue skies and brush style that have made Van Gogh’s work Wheatfield with Crows a true masterpiece.
Painted in Auvers-sur-Oise after his sojourn in the south, the artwork depicts a deep blue sky contrasting with the bright yellow of a wheatfield dotted with black birds. The jewel-like quality of this sky is captured in the blue lacquer artwork on the solid Au 750 signature gold cap and barrel, which is partly set with brilliant-cut diamonds and enhanced with swirling engravings that echo the movements of Vincent’s brush over the canvas. The sky imagery continues on the cap top, where a hand-painted field of intense blue lacquer edged with brilliant-cut diamonds frames the Montblanc diamond at the centre in a solid Au 750 signature gold setting. In an homage to Van Gogh’s love of natural landscapes, the cap features an elaborate handcrafted marquetry design inlaid onto solid Au 750 white gold, rhodium-coated and composed of tiny pieces of mother-of-pearl, sycamore, tulip tree, beetle elytra and straw – a nod to Vincent’s golden wheatfields. Sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines and brilliant-cut diamonds set around the marquetry inlay intensify its vividness.
Similarly to the collection’s other editions, the writing instrument’s lacquer-filled engraving encircling the forepart is a nod to the coloured yarns Van Gogh used to test colour combinations, a testament to his deep understanding of colour theory. Meanwhile, the cap top received its shape from the triangular subdivisions of the artist’s perspective frame, a tool which helped him create realistic portrayal of landscapes, and the screws of which are represented in the engravings on the fittings
The silhouette of the Limited Edition 8 mimics that of a Japanese wood-cutting knife, while the solid Au 750 signature gold barrel’s and cone’s shape recalls the cutting blade of this knife. Van Gogh’s affinity for the Japonisme art style is also seen in one of his most famous works, Almond Blossom, painted in response to the birth of his namesake nephew. His close ties to his family is also reflected in a letter to his brother, Theo, on 25 September 1888, wherein Van Gogh celebrated his ability to transform inspiration into new art. A quote from this letter is hand-engraved on a solid Au 750 signature gold surface depressed into the barrel and cone: ‘Le tableau me vient comme dans un rêve.’ (‘The painting comes to me as if in a dream.’).
Van Gogh’s prized palette knife, used to create his iconic impasto style, inspired the shape of the writing instrument’s rhodium-coated clip, while his brushwork is immortalized in the triangular area of lacquer on the cap top. Van Gogh is also known to have painted 35 self-portraits; one of these, “Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat ”, inspired the engraving on the forepart. His signature, ‘Vincent’, engraved and filled with blue lacquer, adorns the barrel ring below the portrait. In his portraits, the artist’s affinity for pipe smoking was also documented: this is reflected in the rhodium-coated clip’s detail, with the upper part shaped like a pipe’s bowl and set with a blue sapphire for this edition.
Accompanying the Limited Editions in the collection is a selection of writing accessories. A fine stationery takes its outer design from the sun-filled landscape of Wheatfield with a Reaper which is created by a 3D print to recall Van Gogh’s impasto technique. The notebook’s cover is also adorned with Van Gogh’s signature. Meanwhile, the soothing turquoise of his work Almond Blossom has inspired the Montblanc ink in shade Turquoise.
The collection is complete with the addition of Cufflinks, crafted in stainless steel, blue lacquer and sapphire glass that reflects the mesmerizing skies often seen in Van Gogh’s work.
Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition, in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, is available from April 2023 at Montblanc boutiques and online. For more information visit www.montblanc.com